Five artists – Marnie Edmiston, Jordan Marani, Steven Rhall, Alex Selenitsch and Hossein Valamanesh – have been commissioned to make A0 rock posters for distribution across the Melbourne CBD, relating to the idea of the metropolis, urban conditions or community living – either in Melbourne specifically or regarding the concept of a city in a broader sense. While each poster reflects existing forms of public address and poster design as seen around the city, they remain subtly subversive or poetic in their content as distinct from advertising.
Marnie Edmiston, Find your endless encounter
Find your endless encounter merges together the language and visuals of infographics, diagrams and advertising, presenting a view of a retail floorplan in which various nonsensical situations appear in relation to marketing and administrative jargon. The work’s title comes from a phrase used to promote a newly-developed shopping complex in the Melbourne suburb of Ringwood. Initially used for their own directional map, the phrase bears an uncanny resemblance to the terminology used to describe an art encounter in the philosophical writings of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari.
Jordan Marani, NO
Jordan Marani makes darkly humourous work involving personal narratives, cynical observations of the human condition and an exploration of loss and the past. NO is one of a series of approximately fifty small NO paintings. Marani’s text works are often nihilistic and self-deprecating, and here he has chosen to repeat one of the most powerful words in the English language, a brutal negative that can also be enormously empowering. Within the context of the city streets, NO is direct and defiant: an ambiguous counter to bureaucracy, administration and commodification.
Steven Rhall, Narrm Melbourne Corp
Narrm Melbourne, both in place and name, inherits a duality suffusing First Nation experience and relationship to place. The central thread of this narrative extends from first colonial contact outwards, each thread unique to that of its bearer. Ruminating on narratives of a 2016 city and beyond, this work uses the ‘Batman Treaty’ both as temporal marker and a story unto itself – examining potentialities of ownership, capitalism and states beyond the binary.
Alex Selenitsch, FORMelbourne
Alex Selenitsch’s oformfromo stems from a slippage observed by the artist as a two-finger typist. The circular form of the letter ‘o’ – signifies both something and nothing: zero as a starting point, or otherwise as a perfect whole. Placed on the street, within a cacophony of visual noise, oformfromo serves as a possible encounter with urban language. The poem is simple, logo-like, easy and quick to read, and its context supplies many hints for its semantic play. Does a city have form? Is the city made from, or conceived from nothing? Does the city signify a kind of perfection? And if it doesn’t, could it?
Hossein Valamanesh, Hasti Masti
Hasti Masti plays with two Farsi words, similar in sound and connected in meaning, that have been used extensively in Persian poetry. Hasti (meaning existence) and Masti (intoxication) come together here in response to the context of a city, allowing us to contemplate our own relationship to community and place.